Mag and I watched the movie today. It was quite disappointing for the following reasons:
1. The movie has no depth. We don't know who the characters are, their motivations, where they came from, where they're going. Forgive me if I like my movie to tell me more beyond "X likes to rob banks. Y's job is to catch him". Even Catch Me If You Can, a Steven Spielberg movie (Spielberg, for fuck's sake) did so much more with character development.
2. The contrast between Dillinger and Purvis could've been really interesting, and the fact that they're played by Johnny Depp and Christian Bale would've made it pretty phenomenon...if
a. There had been some semblance to an attempt to delve into the psyche of the two characters, instead of merely scratching the surface, and only barely; and
b. JOHNNY AND CHRISTIAN HAD MORE THAN ONE SCENE TOGETHER.
Seriously, when the movie ended, I couldn't believe they had a grand total of ONE scene together. What the fuck? And the scene they had together was the best scene in the whole movie. How the hell can a movie that features two heavy-weight actors only pit them against each other ONCE? What the fuck, Michael Mann? Epic fucking fail.
If Purvis is supposed to be Dillinger's foil, then the movie really failed at portraying it. I can't emphasise enough how disappointing the end result was. Especially Dillinger. Johnny Depp is hot and sexy for sure, and we have flashes of his personality, but nothing much beyond that. Christian Bale tried to bring out his character's inner turmoil with his (hot and sexy) broody stares and half-smiles, but nope, didn't work for me, sorry. He was so much better in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. He was so much better in The Machinist. And I can't believe I'm saying this, but he was even better in the stupid Terminator movie.
I blame it on the script though. Maybe I'm just too jaded from having watched way too many movies, but the whole time I couldn't help but be bothered by how affected and try-too-hard the lines were, and how typical they were of a Hollywood big budget movie. Johnny's comic timing in the Pirates movies was way better than here; but that's probably because he had better material to work with.
Which leads me to...
3. The characters were so badly-written - especially Dillinger. Especially Purvis. But all of them were badly-written. I had no idea who the gang members were - at all. When people started dropping like flies, I was all, "Huh? Who's that?" When people started dying I didn't even know if they were cops or gang robbers - it was THAT bad.
4. I found the whole romance between Dillinger and his very gorgeous girlfriend quite unbelievable. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I just cannot find it in me to suspend disbelief long enough to believe that a reasonably level-headed and intelligent woman would abandon her whole life to go running around with a fucking bank robber. And then write him some soppy note from prison, telling him not to go back for her, because two years aren't a very long time.
You have GOT to be kidding me. No one is that fucking stupid. And seriously, if I were the woman, and my stupid felon boyfriend doesn't come back for me, he's fucking screwed. I'd never forgive someone who leaves me to rot in prison, ALL BECAUSE OF HIM, while he runs off scot-free and doesn't come back for me. Sorry, my capacity to love isn't that great.
5. The director's commentary on torture was obvious and retarded and unoriginal and unimpressive. Yet another trite left-wing commentary. I totally agree with it, of course, but don't chuck it into your movie out of WAY left field just for the sake of it. It's lazy and clumsy and dishonest, and I'm sorry, but I'm not interested. If you're really so concerned, make a movie about it. Write an article about it. Don't make it some retarded half-hearted after-thought, because it's a subject too important to be reduced to that.
6. Michael Mann. WTF. He's famous for The Insider, which I watched sometime back but didn't really get the fuss. Of course, I blame it on Russell Crowe whom I hate with a fiery passion (I cannot understand his mumbly speech. For shit. I cannot understand him, and I hate his face, and I don't see what's so fantastic about him, and his voice annoys me), but the movie wasn't memorable to me. He's a bit like the hack that made Crash: tries to have a point, but fails in the process (actually, Crash has a point; it's just not something I'm interested in, because it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know). In fact, I'm not sure what the point to Public Enemies is, what he even tried to do with it, and it drives me CRAZY when a movie that looks like a serious movie doesn't know what it wants to do, doesn't have a point, and ultimately ends up feeling utterly empty and, well, pointless.
Once again, Michael Mann fails.
7. Stupid action scenes. They were just too long, and whenever the guns started going off my left ear hurt. But then, I'm not a fan of action movies, so maybe it's just me.
The good things:
1. Christian Bale. Is. Fucking. Sexy.
2. Christian Bale. Is. So. Fucking. Hot.
3. OMG CHRISTIAN BALE.
4. Christian Bale in a suit.
5. CHRISTIAN. BALE.
Yup, that's about it. He totally phoned in the performance though, sorry to say. He was only really on the ball when he was in that scene with Johnny Depp (which is why I'm so pissed we only got ONE scene. Bloody pathetic).
He seems to be picking quite a bit of retarded movies in recent times. Very sad. I guess one can't be serious and brooding all the time. I mean, look at Joaquin Phoenix. He really believes he's a rapper. Something's clearly wrong with him, and he's totally not acting anymore. Utterly tragic, right? I know. I know.
I still have Leonardo DiCaprio to count on. I think. I hope. He can't possibly go wrong with Martin Scorsese, I think.
Anyway, in summary, Public Enemies is very disappointing. I can think of ten million - okay, I exaggerate - other movies about American outlaws/gang robbers that are a million times better than Public Enemies. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one - it's very slow, but it's very rewarding, and you actually understand why the characters do what they do. And of course, Bonnie and Clyde, which is a classic for a reason. I watched this a few years ago and oh my god, it's just wonderful. The acting is spot-on (duh) and characters have a purpose and aren't just cardboard cut-outs. Very good stuff.
In other news, been feeling moody today. Doesn't help that I've been extremely tired the whole day, having slept like, six hours or something. I couldn't wake up in time to take public transport for Civil Procedure so I took a cab to the Supreme Court. It was only $12.80. Very good.
Fell asleep during Civ Pro. Almost fell asleep during the movie. And the stupid going-home MRT crowd absolutely pissed me off.
I have something to rant about but no time right now so some other time. Yay.